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Is It Really Winter?


Fri, Dec 7th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, December 3, 2001

As I sit down to write this column, I wonder if there is really anything left to say about gardening. This morning we all awoke to see a covering of white. It was quite lovely, but sad, as it does herald the end of the garden season.

But there is much left to say. In the last week of August I planted beets in a raised bed. Then following some good advice I covered the entire bed with plastic supported by hoops. This tiny little greenhouse continues to hold in enough heat that the beets are still growing. A quart and a half of pickled beets and several meals of beet greens have been enjoyed so far. Amazing. It really does work!

The most important work for the gardener now is to take time to reflect on both the joys and sorrows of last season - what worked out well and what was a complete failure.
Success and Failure

I have this bad attitude about staking. I don't like to do it. I don't want to do it, so I don't. And it has cost me dearly.

Tomatoes really do need staking. There is no room here for stubbornness. So I didn't stake my tomatoes. I mulched them really well and in defiance of the basic rules of gardening thought that maybe, just maybe; the mulch would keep them from rotting on the ground.

These tomatoes didn't stand a chance. Before there was any chance of rot, the slugs had a field day. They were ruthless. Hardly a tomato escaped. Except the cherry tomatoes. There were so many other good choices they didn't bother with the small stuff.

35 plants, over 9 different varieties, including Brandywine, Caspian Pink, Amish Paste, Persimmon, Better Boy and Yellow Italian Paste - I had such dreams of tomato goodness. . .

Canning books all say you shouldn't can tomatoes with slug bites. So we ate a lot fresh, but the chickens really made out like bandits. I kept telling myself that boy, we would have the best tasting chicken this year. Occasionally I would throw in a little parsley and basil, too. But the chickens are another story.

Thinking this would be the bumper crop of salsa and pizza sauce I also planted over 30 pepper plants. Sweet frying peppers, jalapenos, chili peppers, bell peppers and more. They did beautifully. What we didn't eat fresh ended up mostly dried or roasted and frozen, hopeful signs of a culinary destiny.

So, readers, what worked for you? What were your totally embarrassing failures? Write in and this winter let .....
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My Guarantee To You

Fri, Dec 7th, 2001
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Monday, December 3, 2001

I just got up off the kitchen floor. Our five-year-old dishwasher needed my attention. About two weeks ago it started running water out its door. Maybe it was trying to tell us that the kitchen floor needed scrubbing. ..... 
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Amid the Clutter

Fri, Dec 7th, 2001
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Monday, December 10, 2001

I have three computers on my desk. I pretend that the sheer number of microchips and high-tech gear humming in proximity to me are directly proportional to the important role I play in putting out a paper every week. ..... 
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Fri, Dec 7th, 2001
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Fri, Dec 7th, 2001
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Fri, Dec 7th, 2001
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Fri, Dec 7th, 2001
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Dec 7th, 2001
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To the Editor,
Monday, December 10, 2001

To the Editor,

I am writing in response to two letters in the November 26, 2001 Journal.

I would like to commend Gabe Dybing on calling Mr. Panko to task on his views of organi ..... 
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Vernon H. Vigeland

Fri, Dec 7th, 2001
Posted in

Vernon H. Vigeland, 77, of LaCrosse, Wis., formerly of Mabel, Minn. died March 12, 2001 at the Green Lea Manor Nursing Home in Mabel where he had resided for only a week.

Vernon was born September 5, 1923 in Preble Township, Fillmore County, M ..... 
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